Visit any Filipino household, and you'll probably see a bottle of vinegar or suka somewhere in the kitchen. For many, vinegar is an indispensable cooking ingredient that enhances the flavor of different dishes, whether you use it as the main component or simply as a dipping sauce. They come in different variations, each with its own qualities and recommended uses.
In fact, with all these types of vinegar, you might be wondering about which one to use when making your favorite dishes. Fret not, because we've made an informative buying guide and a list of the best vinegars to help you out. Read further to know more about the types of vinegar and which are the best ones available online. We also asked for some tips and insights from registered nutritionist-dietitian Samantha Morales!
Samantha began her career in clinical nutrition and weight management at a tertiary hospital in Manila, Philippines. Her practice allowed her to give nutrition counseling and plan modified diets for patients with medical conditions. Presently, she does private practice to focus on true holistic wellness - an approach that believes in aligning one's mind, body, and spiritual well-being.
Our recommendation articles are carefully researched and crafted by the mybest Philippines team of writers and editors. To stay true to our company’s mission and vision to help users’ selection process easier, we also collaborate with experts from various fields to ensure that our content stays factual and useful.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
Table of Contents
Here are some key points to consider:
For more detailed information, read through our buying guide below.
Before making a purchase, figure out first what kind of vinegar you are specifically looking to buy. To decide this, determine how you'll use it in your meals as each kind of vinegar has its own purpose.
Whether it’s an ingredient for your homemade adobo or a partner to your chicharon, the classic white vinegar is a staple in Filipino kitchens. Its original acidic taste makes it perfect for classic dishes such as paksiw and adobo and as a dipping sauce, especially for fried and barbecued pork.
It's the most versatile kind of vinegar as you can use it for cooking, gardening, and even cleaning. Moreover, since it's your ordinary kind of vinegar, expect it to come at a lower price tag compared to other kinds of vinegar.
Distilled white vinegar isn't only for cooking. It can also be used as a natural cleaning agent. It possesses powerful antimicrobial properties that can be used in getting rid of molds and grime, disinfecting surfaces, and even removing weeds in the garden.
Balsamic vinegar isn't created with fermented alcohol, but instead, it's made by aging pressed grape juice which thickens and becomes more concentrated over time. It has a blackish color and has the sweetest and most complex taste out of all the varieties of vinegar.
This vinegar is perfect for drizzling over salads and pasta or used as a marinade for fish and chicken. Aside from that, you can also mix it with olive oil to create a classic balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Overall, choose balsamic vinegar if you want to add a sweet twist to your favorite dishes.
According to studies, balsamic vinegar has been shown to maintain or lower bad cholesterol levels in the body because of its antioxidant content. Moreover, it aids in digestion (thanks to its probiotics), improves one's blood circulation, and supports weight management. Balsamic vinegar is commonly used as the main ingredient when making a balsamic vinaigrette. Simply combine it with good quality extra virgin olive oil, spices, and herbs to drizzle on your salads or as a dip to appetizers.
Apple cider vinegar is a practically drinkable vinegar that aside from culinary uses, can also offer health benefits because of its antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. However, make sure that you consume it moderately as vinegar typically has acidic properties that can have negative effects on your body which include tooth decay.
Other than that, both kinds of vinegar are perfect for making pickled vegetables, including pickled green papaya or atsara, as it is more commonly known in the Philippines. It gives them a sour flavor without being too overpowering.
Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apple cider through the aid of yeast and bacteria. It is helpful in detoxification and boosting one's immune system due to its probiotic and enzyme content. Moreover, it supports normal blood sugar levels, lowers bad cholesterol, relieves acid reflux symptoms, and enhances weight management.
On the other hand, cane vinegar is made from fermented sugar cane juice. It is a mild-tasting vinegar that is popularly used in most Filipino dishes.
Wine vinegar is made from fermented wines which undergo the oxidation process that gives it a mellow yet complex flavor. Commonly, wine vinegar is used for salad dressings, marinades, and sauces.
As the name suggests, red wine vinegar is derived from red wine, which gives it a pinkish tint and is usually paired with hearty food because of its complex flavor. Meanwhile, white wine vinegar comes from fermented white wine which gives off a more delicate flavor, making it ideal for marinating poultry and dressing salads.
White vinegar contains 5-10% acetic acid and mostly contains water. It is not only used in fermenting, but it can also be used as a natural cleaner or a skin toner. It contains a low amount of calories and has minerals such as manganese, selenium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, and sodium too.
Red wine vinegar is made from the fermentation of red wine and water. It may be too sour or acidic if consumed as is, so it's best to combine it with olive oil or other ingredients when making it into a salad dressing, for example. There were studies done on red wine vinegar, and it has been found out that consumption of this vinegar has helped lower blood sugar levels.
Black vinegar is vinegar that originated from China and is made from fermented sticky rice. It has a dark color and a malty, smoky, and slightly sweet flavor perfect for Asian dishes such as braised meat, noodles, and dumplings.
Similar to black vinegar, rice vinegar is also an Asian vinegar made from fermented rice. However, unlike the former, rice vinegar has a milder flavor and is best for marinades, sauces, dressings, and as an ingredient for pickling vegetables.
Black vinegar adds umami flavor to the dish. The aroma of black vinegar is brought by the chemical reaction called the Maillard process during fermentation. This type of vinegar is usually added to Chinese, Japanese, or Taiwanese noodle or soup dishes. Rice vinegar is less acidic and has a milder flavor, making it a subtle addition to salad dressings or marinades.
Sukang tuba or coconut sap vinegar is an all-natural sweet vinegar made out of coconut cider and is typically used for kinilaw. Aside from that, it is also used as a base for making other types of vinegar such as Pinakurat. Usually, Sukang tuba is sold on roadside shops near coconut plantations.
On the other hand, Pinakurat is the spiced version of sukang tuba which is used as a dipping sauce for all sorts of grilled food. It has chilies, garlic, onion, ginger, sugar, sweet peppers, and salt, and is a perfect partner for pork dishes such as barbecue and lechon.
Lastly, Sinamak is a cane vinegar from Iloilo with pickled chilis, garlic, and onion. These ingredients are soaked in vinegar for several days or weeks to create a deeper and more complex flavor. Sinamak can be used in many ways but it’s more popularly used in Chicken Inasal and as a flavor-enhancer in other meat dishes.
Coconut vinegar is made from the sap of coconut blossoms. This sap offers more concentrated amounts of vitamin C and minerals than apples do, has an impressive amount of amino acids, and contains good bacteria. In addition, it is widely available in the Philippines, and by consuming coconut vinegar, we get to help our local farmers too.
Vinegars packaged in value packs are the most budget-friendly option out there. Besides being more affordable, its small quantity can also ensure that your vinegar doesn’t spoil. Note, however, that this is ideal only if you need small quantities of vinegar.
Bottled vinegars, on the other hand, are perfect for families who regularly use vinegar for their meals. They usually come in either 350ml glass bottles or in 1-liter plastic ones. Compared to vinegars in value packs, bottled vinegars are easier to seal and store in condiment shelves and pantries.
Finally, vinegars by the gallon are ideal for celebrations where large quantities of different dishes are prepared. We Filipinos love handaan, and vinegar is a staple ingredient and condiment in our local dishes such as atchara and barbecued meat. It adds a nice sour kick to our food, which is something we share with our Asian neighbors.
Commercially available vinegars are available in plastic pouches or in glass bottles. Choose more of the one packaged in glass since some plastic packaging may contain harmful toxins that can leach into the food. Vinegar has a long shelf-life since it is fermented. You may purchase them in bigger bottles especially if you will be using them in most of your dishes to save on cost.
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Lee Kum Kee
An All-Around Vinegar to Enhance Your Dishes
A Dark and Sweet Balsamic Vinegar for Seasoning Salads
Apple Cider Vinegar
An All-Natural Apple Cider Vinegar for Pickling, Drinking, or Baking
Red Cane Vinegar
Add a Sweet and Sour Kick to Your Recipe With This Red Cane Vinegar
White Wine Vinegar
Create Dishes With Delicate Flavors Using This White Wine Vinegar
An Affordable Distilled White Vinegar for Home-Cooked Meals
Pure & All-Natural Coconut Vinegar
A Pure Coconut Vinegar Made From Natural Ingredients
Spiced Vinegar (Sinamak)
A Spiced Vinegar Perfect as a Dipping Sauce
Brown Rice Vinegar
Give Your Asian Recipes More Depth With This Brown Rice Vinegar
Add a Strong Garlic Taste to Your Regular Vinegar
This white vinegar from Lee Kum kee is made from water, sugar, and rice that is fermented and mixed together to make a sour taste. It has a 4.5g/100ml acidity concentration and a subtle fragrance perfect for enhancing the flavor as well as the aroma of your favorite Filipino dishes.
Aside from that, this vinegar is vegan, has no artificial flavors, MSG, or preservatives added in its formula. It can be used as an ingredient in cooking Asian recipes or as a dipping condiment with your meals. Lee Kum Kee White Vinegar is perfect for pickling, making salads, sweet and sour dishes, and sushi.
From Dolce Vita, this balsamic vinegar produced from Italy is made from wine vinegar, concentrated grape must, and caramel coloring which gives it its full, dark appearance. It has a 6% acidity level and is stored in a 500ml glass bottle with a removable cap.
In terms of taste, this vinegar has a bold, concentrated, and intense flavor. It can be used to marinate your meat before cooking or as a sweet glaze after you take it off the heat. Aside from that, you can also drizzle it on salads and mix it with soups as a dressing or condiment.
This apple cider vinegar from Heinz is an all-natural vinegar made from apples. Diluted to 5% acidity, this apple cider vinegar has been filtered multiple times, resulting in an almost-clear solution, as seen from its 473ml plastic bottle packaging.
Since it's made from all-natural ingredients, this vinegar has no fat, sugar, or sodium content per serving. It is definitely a healthy vinegar option perfect for pickling vegetables, making drinks, and even baking by either helping activate the baking powder or baking soda in your batter or leavening the dough.
If you want to add a mild and sweet-sour flavor to your dishes, then go for red cane vinegars. This one from Del Monte offers exactly that, with no preservatives and no artificial chemicals included. It is packaged in a glass bottle and is sold at a reasonable price.
With this vinegar, you can make a variety of dishes such as the well-loved adobo and tapa. Because of its mild acidity level (4.5%) and sweet taste, you can guarantee a delicious balance of sweet and sour in your home-cooked meals. With this red cane vinegar from a go-to brand, you can add a much-needed flavor boost to your dishes.
Made in Italy, this white wine vinegar is perfect for adding a mellow and delicate flavor to your favorite dishes. It has a 6% acidity level and is packaged in a 1-liter clear glass bottle ideal for large households and easy storage.
Its mild flavor is perfect for pickling different food, marinating meat, and creating sauces. Also, it can be used in deglazing a pan after cooking whether it is to clean the surface or create a flavorful sauce.
This is probably the most common vinegar and is a famous product among Filipinos. It is for a good reason. Silver Swan Sukang Puti is versatile yet affordable, making it perfect for those who want a plain vinegar taste for a variety of local Filipino dishes.
It's available in a 1L bottle, so you wouldn't have to worry about running out of vinegar even if you cook for a large household. This vinegar is sourced from a mixture of water and cane vinegar.
It has a 4.5% acidity level, that gives your dishes a sour kick without being too overpowering. A distilled white vinegar is a staple ingredient in Filipino households and Silver Swan is a trusted brand for well-loved Filipino condiments.
Saint C is a brand you should try if you're looking for vinegar with all-natural ingredients. This vinegar is made from the sap of the flowers of coconut trees which is fermented for 8-12 months until it turns into vinegar. Although they look very similar, this vinegar has a slightly milder taste than apple cider vinegar.
Additionally, Saint C coconut vinegar is sugar-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, and contains zero MSG, so you can consume it without any guilt. It comes in a 250 ml tall glass bottle and also has other flavors such as calamansi and cocomansi.
To use this condiment, simply add it to your salad dressings, marinades, stews, soups, and warm dishes. You can even use it for pickling vegetables! Best of all, it's Halal, Kosher, and Organic-certified, so almost anyone can consume it.
Mama Sita’s Sinamak is a spiced vinegar from Ilocos made from the flowering sheaths of mature coconut palms and combined with pepper, red chili, ginger, garlic, and onions for that extra kick. These spicy ingredients go well with the fine, fermented coconut nectar base.
This vinegar goes well with grilled or fried meat and seafood as it cuts through the lansa of your meal. Depending on the spices and peppers used, the flavor of Sinamak can range from a mild peppery taste to a strong spicy flavor. Go on and try this one for that added spice!
Brown rice vinegar is a version of rice vinegar made from unpolished brown rice that gives it a nice, dark color. It is richer in nutrients and has a deeper flavor compared to other rice vinegars. Because of this, it is the better option when you want to add a strong and long-lasting flavor to your dishes.
Ottogi Brown Rice Vinegar uses fermented superior brown rice to achieve that immense flavor. Aside from that, it includes malt powder, alcohol, fermentation nutrient, and water, that gives it a malty and deep taste. This vinegar is perfect for seasoning sushi rice and for salad dressings.
This vinegar from Tentay combines the powerful and strong taste of garlic and the sour, acidic taste of vinegar. It has a cloudy appearance and is packaged in a clear 200ml plastic bottle with a removable cap.
This locally-produced and Halal-certified vinegar is best partnered with fried food such as chicharon, lumpiang gulay, and lumpiang shanghai because of its sour kick and garlic flavor.
In fact, adding vinegar to fried food has dietary benefits. This study concludes that daily vinegar intake reduces body weight and fat significantly, so you can consume it without any worries.
Here are some of the most asked questions on the web answered by nutritionist-dietitian Samantha Morales!
Yes. Consuming too much acidic food can damage your teeth enamel for instance.
Vinegar doesn't contain macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) and has little calories about 2-15 calories in a tablespoon.
Organic vinegar does not contain any pesticides as well as not genetically modified. Based on studies, organic vinegar contains more beneficial strains of bacteria during the fermentation process than non-organic vinegar. Good bacteria are needed for our gut health. So, organic vinegar is better than its non-organic counterpart.
Here are some of Samantha Morales' recommended vinegar! We also included a link in case you want to check them out.
Here is my recommended vinegar that you can use to add a kick of flavor to marinades for meats or poultry and even make sauces and dips for grilled or fried dishes. It is made from natural cane vinegar infused with spices, so you know you're getting the best quality and the best taste!
There are people who like their food as is, while there are those who think you can never have too many condiments added in. If you belong to the latter, here are a few of our articles featuring other condiments that can add a flavor boost to your dishes.
Author: Katrina Balingit
Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors, in collaboration with the expert featured in this article. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from different E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.
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The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
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